Day 10-11: The diploma
Tuesday 15 November 2022

On the road again. Direction: San Salvador. The -bitcoin community- is about to meet here for ‘Adopting Bitcoin’, the last big conference of the year but certainly not the least. Friends and bitcoiners from all over the world are flying into the country to collaborate and promote the adoption of bitcoin worldwide. I wonder how many of them knew this country before ‘Ley Bitcoin’. And who knows if we would have come here otherwise?

Before returning to San Salvador, we make a pit stop in the village of Ataco: we were invited to attend the handing out of the Bitcoin diploma, a real qualification in bitcoin and financial education that children from -currently seven- public schools in El Salvador receive after participating in a course organised in collaboration with the ‘Mi Primer Bitcoin’ association. We have often talked about this in our stories: less than a year ago we attended the meeting between the first headmaster to join the programme, government representatives and the founders of the project. A historic moment. 

Between one appointment and another, our day ends so late that we cannot even find the time and energy to write our daily diary. This is the reason for yesterday’s non-publication: I hope you can forgive us. 

Our waking up in San Salvador was quite traumatic: late, in a hurry, with the weekly vlog to be edited and several pressing appointments. So we decided to do something we had not yet done here in El Salvador: go to Starbucks. Last year we saw dozens of videos on Twitter representing bitcoin transactions and we knew for a fact they would accept them. ‘Two cappuccinos and two chocolate muffins please, we pay in bitcoin!’ Silence. The waitress’s lost look meant only one thing: she had never used it before and had no idea how to do it. Her colleague came to her aid but could not remember the password to their Chivo wallet. No dice. We go to the McDonald’s next door, with the same intention.
There the real surprise: not even the McDonald’s manager remembered the application password. Less than a year ago, the same place was studded with illuminated ‘Pay your burger in bitcoin!’ signs. Unbelievable.

We remember that their automated checkout machines created a bitcoin QR code without requiring a password and ask the staff to try it. It works! But what a struggle.

Education is everything. The day before, we witnessed the final test of 16- and 17-year-olds perfectly capable of creating and managing a new non-custodial wallet, importing it into a new device, making an on-chain transaction and monitoring it in a bitcoin explorer. Less than 24 hours later, we find ourselves drinking watered-down coffee in an establishment whose staff cannot remember an application PIN.